Would you like a dose of utter destruction with that view?
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, some New Jersey residents living in vulnerable oceanfront properties are stymieing efforts to build sand dunes and widen beaches along the coastline to block storm surges. Some fear losing their views. Others worry that new public-access beach areas could be opened up adjacent to their properties.
Gov. Chris Christie (R) said on Tuesday that he has “no sympathy” for property owners standing in the way of a $3 billion federal project to widen beaches and build protective dunes. He announced plans for dealing with these “selfish” property owners during a town hall meeting in Middlesex Borough.
“We will go town by town and if we have to start calling names out of the selfish ones who care more about their view than they care about the safety and the welfare of their neighbors, then we are going to start doing that,” Christie said, according to CBS. “I will use my normal sense of gentle persuasion to try to make sure that we bring people along.”
From The Star-Ledger:
Christie has credited sand dunes — some man-made and others the work of nature — with protecting homes and businesses during Hurricane Sandy in October.
Towns without dunes were left vulnerable to devastating wind and rain …
Although Christie has said he will not condemn homes to buy out residents in flood-prone areas, he said last week in Manasquan that he would resort to eminent domain for beachfront property if necessary.
The Asbury Park Press reported in January that about half of the coastal homeowners in one town were resisting dunes and other beach restoration efforts:
[O]fficials are struggling to persuade half of the 127 oceanfront property owners here to sign construction easements that will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild a wider beach and thick, 22-foot-high dunes against the next storm.
To skeptics, the issue of easements always has been one of ceding private property rights. But to borough and state officials, it’s about saving the community.
Go get ’em, governor.